|Posted on March 9, 2019 at 8:55 AM|
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If one of the attributes of a title pursuing side is to win games ugly or when they are least deserved it, Hilderinc FC would have done their best to put themselves in that bracket when they edged out a 2-1 win against TGA Strollers FC in one of the most dramatic of fashions in the ESPZEN Saturday League Division 2.
While many high profile matches in the world stage have been decided with that, “Did it cross the line or not” goal, the hard-fought local fixture was handed their very own moment of controversy for the Blacks to nick all three points to keep their pursuit on track.
Most notably, the Hilderincs had to, for the third week in succession, dig into their deep recesses to put in a remarkable display in the face of a rough-and-ready side, especially in the heart of the team as they had to patch and work after having Jon Loh as the only recognised midfielder in the side, though Mathieu Morand-Duval provided much needed strength, it was too much to ask him and fellow debutant Fehd Marrakchi, who were thrown into the deep end prematurely due to the lack in numbers, and only the late additions of Nico Olvera and Shiv Tulsiani gave them a more healthy bench.
Despite the uncertainties of a makeshift midfield, the Blacks were slightly the more industrious of the two sides, though the choice of mirroring their opponents in hit and chase approach left them disproportionately blunt when it mattered most.
Ironically, it was a direct launch that almost opening the scoring for the Blacks when Fehd Marrakchi nearer made an instant introduction when he latched onto Nicholas Ledenmark’s hoof, but his well taken shot hit the inside of the post before bouncing clear of danger.
But within two minutes of being let off, the Stollers who go on and take the lead after despite the suspicion of an offside, they rolled the ball into goal after the Hilderincs naively stopped at their tracks looking at the referee to bail them out.
Infuriated, the Blacks tried to hit back as soon as possible but the helter-skelter did little favours, a fact that was exacerbated by alternations to the midfield in an attempt find a balance to reign control.
With the game pivoting back and forth, there was little to suggest that either side will do enough to shift the tie, though Dionisis Kolokotsas came within inches of getting his head to a Fehd Marrackchi corner, which could have level the proceedings going into the break.
After some strong words at the break, the refocused Hilderincs re-entered the arena with single-minded resolve and they took a mere two minutes of the restart to make their intentions clear when they levelled the score after Fehd Marrakchi delightfully sent the ball across the face of the Stroller’s box for Mohd Erzan to calmly slot in at the far post.
It was an instant response to another slew of changes that were made at the break and it gave the Blacks the spring in their heels as they tightened the screws in search of the winner.
Having won a freekick in the Strollers’ half, Nico Olvera’s shot was fumbled out of his own hands by the goalkeeper but recovered well enough to deny Aamir Fikri’s follow up, and with Mathieu Morand-Duval intelligently flicking the ball goal towards, Dionisis Kolokotsas who had an earlier headed chance in the first half, incredibly headed over the crossbar with the open goal at his mercy, leaving the Geek veteran floored, burying his face in his hands for a moment of “What it could have been” reflection, which certainly will not echo his valiant display at the other end of the pitch.
Having the Strollers doing their best to find a way through, the Hilderinc defence had to be at their best, and goalkeeper Gowtham Durai proved why he is highly regarded in the ranks with confident handling of couple of dicey situations he was faced with.
With the final 15minutes remaining on the clock, the Hilderincs yet again altered the pack in the middle, the sixth time in a total seven they would make before the end of the game, as the pushed hard for a way through.
Combining to win a corner, Fehd Marrakchi and Ian Morris quickly restarted the play, finding Jon Loh, whose blocked attempt was followed through by Nico Olvera, but with the keeper spilling it against the post, and despite his effort to claw it back into his arm, the referee blew the whistle, adjudging that the ball had crossed the line, sending the Strollers into pandemonium.
But the official choose to stand his ground with the decision of giving the Blacks the goal, though inches would determine the contentious outcome, with the Strollers having all the right to feel aggrieved, as the Hilderincs will agree that the whole of the ball did not cross the line but any team in the world to take the fortune if the glove was on the other hand.
The ghost goal set the stage for an enthralling finish, with the Hilderincs playing an immaculately disciplined game to secure all three points.
With the Blacks expected to return to full strength next week, they will be delighted to have seen out three weeks of deficiency and undernourishment, but will be even more pleased to have taken 7 out of 9 points in this period, especially today when they recovered from a goal down to win the game for the first time this season, testament to the depth, even in the most trying of situation and lack.
TGA Strollers FC 1 : Hilderinc FC 2
Goals: Mohd Erzan 42’, Nico Olvera 71’
MOM: Adi Ravikumar
Starting Line up
1. Gowthan Durai
2. Glenn Sandhu
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Dionisis Kolokotsas
5. Adi Ravikumar
6. Sergey Darovskikh
7. Joh Loh
8. Mathieu Morand-Duval
9. Fehd Marrakchi
10. Ian Morris
11. Mohd Erzan
12. Aamir Fikri
13. Kavin Singh
14. Nico Olvera
15. Sathayaraj Rajandran
16. Shiv Tulsiani
Categories: Match Day